The annual Weapons Expo has been brought to an end by Peace Action groups across the country. The non-violent direct action tactics we have used have been effective at shutting this thing down for the past four years. Now the NZ Defence Industry Association has realised the futility of continuing to host this weapons show against the massive wave of public opposition and disgust at their business of war. They have admitted it will not take place in 2019.
The Weapons Expo organisers have done everything to try to camouflage what they are doing to make it respectable, but when Lockheed Martin is the principal sponsor and dozens of world’s biggest arms dealers show up to cash in on lucrative military contracts, it is pretty hard to hide the reality of shameless war profiteering.
There is absolutely no social license for war or weapons dealers in Aotearoa. People simply do not want this country to be a base for warmaking or war profiteering.
While the Peace Action groups have been driving this, we did not do it alone. It has taken the work of thousands of people over the years – people who have put themselves on the front lines of our blockades to get in the way of these arms dealers and stop them. This has not come without a cost; many people suffered injuries at the hands of police and dozens of illegal arrests were made.
We are happy that this abhorrent event will not continue in Aotearoa. However, our work is not complete. The military budget has increased exponentially with massive new arms contracts for aircraft. This is money that is being stolen from our communities – communities that are desperately in need of housing, health care, education and ecological care. Every dollar we spend on armaments and military bases is money taken from our children. We are sacrificing their future to keep an army and weapons of war at the ready. It is grotesque.
We would like to pay special tribute to the following organisations for their unwavering support of our work to shut down the Weapons Expo. We did it!
People Against Prisons Aotearoa
Church in Progress MCC
Auckland Action Against Poverty
Student Housing Action Group
Save Our Homes
Quaker Peace & Service
Society of Friends
Racial Equity Aotearoa
Asians for Tino Rangatiratanga
Health Sector Workers’ Network
Palestine Solidarity Network
West Papua Action Auckland
People of Parihaka Pā
Oil Free Wellington
Whanganui Positive Activists
Christchurch Progressive Network
World Beyond War
Tāmaki Makaurau Anarchists
Berrigan House – Catholic Workers
Grannies for Peace
Climate Justice Taranaki
Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Non-Muggles Against War
Peace Action Waiheke
The Peace Place
The Peace Squadron
War Kills Children
International Socialist Organisation
and a myriad of union members, climate activists, environmentalists, & faith-based activists.